What started out as a spur of the moment decision three months earlier boiled down to six days of absolute kawaii and sugoi adventures in Tokyo.
I’ve been a nerd for Japanese culture since I was little, even reading Dad’s old and brown book about Japanese etiquette in my elementary days. So can you imagine how a trip to the Land of the Rising Sun must’ve been for me? This was our first trip there!
I didn’t feel the excitement yet as the days rolled closer and closer to our flight date because of the extremely busy schedule for everyone in the family. Missing a weekend trip to Pampanga with one-half of the family was definitely worth the rest before flying off though.
Packing all my stuff the day before, it was only when they gave us our plane tickets at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila that I felt the sudden surge of excitement.
And what better traveling companion could we have? A storm left the Philippines and was headed to Japan with us! Thank God, despite the flight attendants and pilots’ warnings of turbulence, Captain Tsubasa (hehe hands up if you get the manga reference), our pilot, managed to land us safely at the airport without experiencing any turbulence, whatsoever.
Four and a half hours of watching The Theory of Everything and munching on this bento meal and Haagen Dazs ice cream mid-air later ~
Touchdown Narita Airport!
It was already night time in Japan when we arrived. Remember that Japan is an hour later than the Philippines. So the flight is virtually around five hours because you add an hour to your clock.
This map of Tokyo Subway Routes welcomed us. Luckily, we did our research.
It’s no secret that Japanese trains are one of the best modes of transportation in Japan, if not, one of the best in the world. My first experience was riding the Keisei Narita Sky Access to get to Ueno Station, where our hotel was located.
It took us about forty-five minutes to get to Tokyo from the Airport via train, which was already very fast considering how far the airport was. We took note of the train’s speed as raindrops and street lights just became streaks of water or color to look at from the windows, all while maintaining a smooth gliding feel to its movements.
When we got to Tokyo, the storm was raging badly. The wind was strong and cold and it rained hard. Our umbrellas were no match and our luggage were getting wet. We took cover inside a convenient store before heading to our hotel.
It was only after we settled in our hotel and managed to get some rest that the rain stopped just in time for a very late dinner.
Dinner was at an American restaurant. At this point, we were very hungry and exhausted.
We easily got into a conversation with the Taiwanese woman and Bangladeshi man manning the place, exchanging jokes about the storm: how it loved us so much it followed us here. The woman was a university student in Taiwan who wanted to learn the Japanese language. She taught us a few basic phrases.
Each night of our stay in Japan, we would pass by their restaurant on the way home to our hotel. She and the Bangladeshi man would always spare us a smile and a wave.
Panda on the streets. A delightful street tile design on the sidewalk. More designs can be spotted all around the city.
We spent the night of our first day wandering around the nearby streets, familiarizing ourselves with the area.
Onigiri in one of the many convenient stores. Since the packaging was in Japanese, we had a swell time guessing what filling is inside.
Just like the surprise first bite of this rice ball, surprises awaited us for the rest of the trip.